The unexpected death of Justice Scalia has dominated the news all afternoon. Most observers agree that the Republican Senate is not likely to appoint any Justice nominated by President Obama. They will wait to see who is elected president in November.


Scalia’s death may have a decisive effect on the Friedrichs vs. CTA case. The plaintiffs in the case argued that teachers should not be required to pay union dues, even as they enjoy the benefits negotiated by the union. Observers predicted that Justice Scalia would be the swing vote. In the past, he had written an opinion against “free riders,” workers who collect benefits without paying for them. On the other, he might have voted in favor of weakening the unions. No one could predict which way he might go.


Thus, because of Justice Scalia’s death, the Friedrichs case could end in a 4-4 deadlock, leaving the current laws unchanged.